Microsoft provides plenty of documentation on how to customize the Windows 11 Start Menu layout to look the way you want. For various reasons, many users are not satisfied with the new Start Menu in Windows 11. A free program is just a free program
This guide won’t show you how to customize the Windows Start Menu, but instead shows you the free (free) apps available in the Microsoft Store, GitHub, and other places to use them to replace the Start Menu in Windows 11.
Replace Start Menu Layout in Windows 11
The new Start Menu layout in Windows 11 has limited options for customization. Using apps like Stardock’s Start11 allows you to make Windows 11 look like it behaves like Windows 10. The problem is that Start11 isn’t free, and I’m not sure I want to pay for another app that doesn’t have all the features I want.
There are similar paid apps, but they are often outdated. StartAllBack (formerly StartIsBack) is a Start Menu editing tool only in Windows 10, but cannot be used on Windows 11.
Another, Start Menu X is free to download, but charges $10 for the “Pro version” of a program that appears to have been created in the early days of Windows 10,
Windows 11 users (and those remaining on Windows 10) want the ability to edit and customize the Start menu the way they want. In this guide, we are going to take a look at the best free Github projects to customize Start Menu layout on Windows 11.
SystemTrayMenu is an open source Desktop Toolbar or Start Menu alternative available on GitHub. SystemTrayMenu expands the system tray menu to serve as the Start menu on the right side of the screen.
SystemTrayMenu also gives the user more control over access to specific file and folder paths for running applications, folders, and files.
The added bonus is SystemTrayMenu and it’s portable, so you don’t need to install right away. After downloading it, you can install it whenever you want by unzipping the folder and clicking SystemTrayMenu.exe to start. If you prefer to install the app on Windows 11, you can download SystemTrayMenu from the Microsoft Store.
Open-Shell-Menu, known as “Classic Shell Reborn”, is available on GitHub (Classic Shell discontinued in December 2017). Open-Shell-Menu is a free program that allows you to set the layout of the Start menu on your favorite Windows operating system (Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10).
Although Open-Shell-Menu does not specifically indicate that it is compatible with Windows 11, your best option to install this program is to download the Open-Shell-Menu setup file from the homepage.
Rainmeter is a desktop customization tool that can help you customize the entire Windows 11 desktop, not just the Start menu.
Rainmeter has a wide range of customization options available, with the ability to add customizable skins to your desktop, which includes PC (and peripheral) hardware usage counters, Spotify audio visuals, and more!
Rainmeter has a large GitHub repository, but you will have to download the tool from their website.
Launchy is an open source, cross-platform launcher that helps you get rid of the Windows 11 Start Menu layout completely. Launchy is a free download on Windows 11, but the developer is asking for an optional $3 donation to keep the app running.
Launchy can also help you get rid of Windows 10, Windows 11, and File Explorer icons as well. Launchy indexes programs in the Windows Start menu, so you can launch documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes.
Launchy has plugins available for additional features, including the ability to allow you to index private system folders and files.
ValliStart is a Start Menu alternative to change the default option on Windows 11. ValliStart is not an app, it’s a Rainmeter interface that you can download and install in Rainmeter. ValliStart features 8 different color schemes and 15 other customizations.
Be sure to check out all of our other JaxOriginals Rainmeter skins and modules.
What do you use to replace the start menu in Windows 11? Let us know in the comments!